Pro-choice activists disrupted a Washington pro-life pregnancy center's annual banquet Thursday night, months after the pro-life organization was vandalized after the leaking of the U.S. Supreme Court's draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center hosted its annual fundraising banquet Thursday night at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The center offers free pregnancy services and material resources to pregnant women in difficult circumstances.
Michael New, an associate scholar for the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute who attended the event, called the banquet disruptors "petty, juvenile, and obnoxious."
"Supporters of legal abortion claim to support 'choice.' However, if the protesters were really in favor of choice, they would be supporting the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, which has been offering real choices to D.C. area pregnant women for years," New wrote in a Friday statement to The Christian Post.
New said that while it was "disappointing" to see the banquet disrupted, "pro-lifers can still have the last laugh."
"After the event, I donated $60 to the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center — $10 for each disruption," the pro-life researcher stated, encouraging his colleagues to do the same.
A video posted on Twitter Thursday by World Magazine reporter Carolina Lumetta shows a woman rising from her seat in the banquet hall, yelling, "you are judging those who are attempting to receive medical healthcare." The interruption occurred as the center's executive director, Janet Durig, was giving a speech.
The woman was led away by security shortly after the outburst, shouting things like "abortion is forever, [expletive]!" and "blood on your hands." In the same video, a man seated at the table with the woman stood up as she was being escorted out, accusing the center of being "fake."
Another video posted by Lumetta shows security escorting two female protestors from the venue. A separate video posted by DCMediaGroup shows that, while this disruption was happening inside, another group of pro-choice activists protested the event from outside.
Some of the activists can be heard chanting, "Abortion is a human right!" and "Thank God for abortion!" while others in the group shone a projection on the Marriott that read: "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance."
The groups behind the protests, ShutDownDC and Our Rights DC, posted on Twitter Monday about their plans to disrupt the banquet.
"Tonight, I joined friends (@ShutDown_DC) in disrupting the "Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center" 's anti-abortion banquet in Crystal City," Vincent Vertuccio, a ShutDownDC activist, tweeted Thursday.
"This clinic, a so-called 'crisis pregnancy center' lies to patients, endangers pregnant people, and is part of a national anti-abortion network," he wrote, criticizing the center for hosting Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's wife, Erin Hawley, as a speaker.
In a Thursday tweet, Our Rights DC said the Marriott that hosted the event has hosted other "fascist parties" that the group has protested. The organization also referred to the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center event as a "fake clinic," which is likely a reference to the fact that the facility does not provide abortions.
ShutDownDC and Our Rights DC did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
ShutDownDC responded to New on Twitter, saying activists interrupted the event seven times. In another tweet, the organization admitted that "activists just disrupted this forced birther dinner from the inside."
As The Christian Post reported, pro-choice activists vandalized the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center in June after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion a national right. Vandals spray-painted "Jane Says Revenge" on the center's exterior walls.
The activist group Jane's Revenge has claimed responsibility for several attacks on pregnancy centers throughout the country since the leak and the court's overturning of Roe in June.
In July, Heidi Matzke, the executive director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Sacramento, California, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that her clinic had spent around $150,000 to bolster security measures.
"Pregnancy care centers from coast to coast are being targeted for violent assaults of vandalism and hateful attacks online and in the media," Matzke said. "Just last week, a man approached our care center with an armed machete. We have been forced to hire 24-hour on-site security. We've had to reinforce doors and bulletproof our walls."
"We've had to paint our building with anti-graffiti coating," she added. "We've added cameras, armed our staff with pepper spray, and stopped running our mobile clinic because of threats of violence."
Matzke said her center's work is "worth the risk" as the Alternatives Pregnancy Center provides more than $1 million in free medical and material assistance to women every year.
"We charge them nothing," she said. "That means we never financially benefit from any choice a woman makes. We make no profit of any kind off the women who turn to us for help. We offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and prenatal care up to 24 weeks. ... We test and treat sexually transmitted diseases. We offer abortion pill reversal services, abortion recovery counseling and parenting classes."
While Democrat politicians have repeated pro-choice activists' rhetoric accusing pro-life pregnancy centers of being "fake" clinics, many provide medical services at little to no cost.
As Save the Storks' Brittany Smith wrote a 2020 op-ed, the "fake clinic" claim fails to understand the pregnancy resource center movement. There are two types of pregnancy resource centers: medical and non-medical.
"Non-medical PRCs offer pregnancy tests and counseling to their clients. Once a woman takes a self-administered pregnancy test, a client advocate is available for counseling with the woman," Smith wrote. "[A] medical PRC employs registered nurses or ultrasound technicians who are trained to perform sonograms under the guidance of a licensed medical director. "
"All medical PRCs affiliated with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) comply with national and state medical standards and licensing requirements," Smith continued. "These PRCs operate under the oversight of a medically licensed physician who ensures standards of medical excellence are met."
Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: email@example.com.